BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
THE Zambia Railway Limited (ZRL) last year recorded an increase of 16.3 percent in cargo transportation following the implementation of the Salutatory Instrument which compels all heavy freight to be moved by rail.
According to the Annual Economic Report for 2018 signed by secretary to the treasury, Fredson Yamba, cargo transported by rail increased to 1,068,255 metric tonnes in 2018 from 918,407 tonnes in 2017, representing an upsurge of 16.3 percent.
The report attributes the increase to among other factors, the response by the market to the SI no.7 of 2018.
The report also indicates that ZRL recorded an increase of passengers transported due to improved operational efficiencies.
“In 2018, ZRL recorded an increase of 10.3 percent to 282,081 passengers from 255,727 in 2017, mainly due to improved operational efficiencies. Tanzania and Zambia Railways (TAZARA) transported 658,968 passengers, a 28.9 percent increase from 511,259 passengers in 2017,” said the report.
Cargo transported by TAZARA however declined last year due to a reduction in Zambian exports to the Great lakes Region.
The major Zambian exports which significantly declined were maize, cement and steel, by 66.8 percent, 35.8 percent and 37.7 percent respectively.
This, said the report, led to a reduction of cargo transported to the region through Zambia’s only port, Mpulungu Harbour.
According to the report, the volume of cargo handled at the port declined by 4.4 percent to 165,590.84 metric tonnes from 173,180.15 tonnes recorded in 2017.
Last year government passed an SI No.7 which compelled all transporters to move 30 percent of bulk cargo from road to rail as a way of preserving the lifeline for roads.